Protesters and inflatable rats in Michigan as Republicans pass an anti-union law.
Inflatable rat marching in Michigan
For decades, the inflatable rat has been an icon of labor protest. But are its days numbered? Building Trades President Sean McGarvey tweeted Wednesday afternoon:
Meeting with our Presidents and state councils. Issued a call to retire the inflatable rat. It does not reflect our new value proposition.
@BCTDPrez via Twitter for BlackBerry
@organizerx actually we intend to grow our market share by showing owners our value proposition: training and industry partnerships.
@BCTDPrez via Twitter for BlackBerry
Since construction unions operate apprenticeship programs that train skilled workers, the value proposition is extremely direct, and many construction contractors are enthusiastic about unions for that reason. But, in the words of Frederick Douglass, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will," and at a certain point "partnering with owners" could start to mean not making enough of a demand for power to concede anything.

Not that you need an inflatable rat to make a demand. You just need the will to fight that it has represented.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 03:10 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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